"It is as good as a dungeon. Maybe even worse than a dungeon" were the words of Gujarat High Court about the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat. It has been just a few days and the hospital is in the news again and this time over shocking negligence which appears to second the observation of the High Court.
Actually, the hospital handed over the body of Devrambhai Bhisikar, who was admitted to the COVID-19 isolation ward of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on May 28 with fever, cough and breathlessness. The body was covered in the PPE as per protocol and the family cremated it.
However, hours after his cremation, the hospital again called the family and said that the person was alive and can be shifted to the general ward after his test came negative. This left the family in a state of shock.
"He died on May 29 and the hospital handed over his body, which was completely wrapped and out of fear of the infection, we did not open the cover to see his face also," The Hindu quoted Nilesh Nikte, son-in-law of the deceased, as saying.
"Just two of us — myself and my wife's cousin — cremated the body and we reached home walking all the way from Vadaj crematorium to Viratnagar and in the morning we were informed that he was alive," Nikte said.
Nikte then rushed to the hospital seeking clarification as they were not sure who they had cremated. The hospital then told them that the person who was admitted has actually died due to the coronavirus infection and his body was handed over to them.
Officials of the Civil Hospital clarified that the control room staff was not aware of the patient's death and they mistakenly informed the family that he can be shifted to the general ward after his tests came negative. The man has actually died and his body was handed over to his family, who cremated him.
This sort of negligence in such times tells the whole story about the leading hospital of Ahmedabad, the capital of the home state of the country's two most powerful politicians - Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Gujarat High Court had also lashed out at the hospital
Earlier this month, the Gujarat High Court had lashed out at the state-run hospital terming the conditions there as "pathetic" and "maybe worse than a dungeon". Taking suo motu congnisance of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on Covid-19 pandemic, the division bench of Justices JB Pardiwala and IJ Vora slammed the Vijay Rupani government over prevailing conditions at the hospital, and said it was "distressing and painful".
"It is very distressing and painful to note that the condition prevailing, as on date, in the Civil Hospital, is pathetic... We are very sorry to state that the Civil Hospital Ahmedabad, as on date, appears to be in extremely bad shape," the court observed.
"As we said earlier that the Civil Hospital is meant to treat the patients. However, it appears that as on date, it is as good as a dungeon. Maybe even worse than a dungeon. Unfortunately, the poor and helpless patients have no option," it said.